Root canals

In some situations, you can avoid an extraction by undergoing a root canal. At Harlan Dental, we strive to do whatever we can to save and preserve your natural smile, including root canal therapy when it’s the best option to save damaged teeth.

What is root canal therapy?

If a tooth has a deep cavity or has been traumatized, it may cause the inner pulp of the tooth (which contains nerves and blood vessels) to become inflamed or infected, eventually leading to swelling or a nasty abscess. This may cause extreme pain or be completely painless! Root canal treatment carefully and thoroughly removes the injured pulp from the tooth and seals off the canals – your tooth will be good as new!

I've read that root canal treatment can cause illness - is this true?

Patients searching the internet for information on root canals may find sites claiming that teeth receiving root canal (endodontic) treatment contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease in the body. This claim is based on long-debunked and poorly designed research performed in the 1920s by Dr Weston A Price. Dr Price stated that bacteria trapped in the teeth during root canal treatment could “leak” and cause almost any type of disease, including arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and others. This was before medicine understood the causes of these illnesses. At the time, Dr Price recommended tooth extraction instead of endodontic treatment.

The Truth

The American Association of Endodontists state that there is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal-treated teeth and disease elsewhere in the body.
In fact, by the early 1930s, a number of well-designed studies discredited Dr Price’s research, and no subsequent research has supported Dr Price’s findings. In 1951, the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA) devoted an entire issue to a review of the scientific literature and concluded that there was no evidence supporting Dr Price’s theory and that his research techniques from the 1920s lacked many aspects of modern scientific research. The ADA recommended endodontic treatment as the standard of practice for teeth that could be saved. Recent research continues to support the safety of dental treatment as it relates to overall health.
  • The presence of bacteria in teeth and the mouth has been an accepted fact for many years. But the presence of bacteria does not constitute “infection” and is not necessarily a threat to a person’s health. Bacteria are present in the mouth and teeth at all times, even in teeth that have never had a cavity or other trauma. Research shows that the healthy immune system takes care of bacteria in a matter of minutes.
  • When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal and prevent re-infection of the tooth.
  • Tooth extraction is a potentially traumatic procedure and is known to cause a significantly higher incidence of bacteria entering the bloodstream; endodontic treatment confined to the root canal system produces much less trauma and a much lower incidence and magnitude of bacteria entering the blood stream.
  • There is no adequate replacement for the natural tooth – it should be saved whenever possible. Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost effective way to treat infected teeth because it is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of an implant. In most cases, endodontic treatment allows patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.

If you suspect you may need a root canal because of tooth decay or an impact injury, get the best treatment at Harlan Dental. Call today or request an appointment online.

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5013 Ridgeway Drive
Harlan, IA 51537

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